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Bubkes

Filed under: — gavin @ 26 June 2009 - (Chinese (simplified))

Some parts of the blogosphere, headed up by CEI (“CO2: They call it pollution, we call it life!“), are all a-twitter over an apparently “suppressed” document that supposedly undermines the EPA Endangerment finding about human emissions of carbon dioxide and a basket of other greenhouse gases. Well a draft of this “suppressed” document has been released and we can now all read this allegedly devastating critique of the EPA science. Let’s take a look…

First off the authors of the submission; Alan Carlin is an economist and John Davidson is an ex-member of the Carter administration Council of Environmental Quality. Neither are climate scientists. That’s not necessarily a problem – perhaps they have mastered multiple fields? – but it is likely an indication that the analysis is not going to be very technical (and so it will prove). Curiously, while the authors work for the NCEE (National Center for Environmental Economics), part of the EPA, they appear to have rather closely collaborated with one Ken Gregory (his inline comments appear at multiple points in the draft). Ken Gregory if you don’t know is a leading light of the Friends of Science – a astroturf anti-climate science lobbying group based in Alberta. Indeed, parts of the Carlin and Davidson report appear to be lifted directly from Ken’s rambling magnum opus on the FoS site. However, despite this odd pedigree, the scientific points could still be valid.

Their main points are nicely summarised thus: a) the science is so rapidly evolving that IPCC (2007) and CCSP (2009) reports are already out of date, b) the globe is cooling!, c) the consensus on hurricane/global warming connections has moved from uncertain to ambiguous, d) Greenland is not losing mass, no sirree…, e) the recession will save us!, f) water vapour feedback is negative!, and g) Scafetta and West’s statistical fit of temperature to an obsolete solar forcing curve means that all other detection and attribution work is wrong. From this “evidence”, they then claim that all variations in climate are internal variability, except for the warming trend which is caused by the sun, oh and by the way the globe is cooling.

Devastating eh?

One can see a number of basic flaws here; the complete lack of appreciation of the importance of natural variability on short time scales, the common but erroneous belief that any attribution of past climate change to solar or other forcing means that CO2 has no radiative effect, and a hopeless lack of familiarity of the basic science of detection and attribution.

But it gets worse, what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we’ve discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports….

They don’t even notice the contradictions in their own cites. For instance, they show a figure that demonstrates that galactic cosmic ray and solar trends are non-existent from 1957 on, and yet cheerfully quote Scafetta and West who claim that almost all of the recent trend is solar driven! They claim that climate sensitivity is very small while failing to realise that this implies that solar variability can’t have any effect either. They claim that GCM simulations produced trends over the twentieth century of 1.6 to 3.74ºC – which is simply (and bizarrely) wrong (though with all due respect, that one seems to come directly from Mr. Gregory). Even more curious, Carlin appears to be a big fan of geo-engineering, but how this squares with his apparent belief that we know nothing about what drives climate, is puzzling. A sine qua non of geo-engineering is that we need models to be able to predict what is likely to happen, and if you think they are all wrong, how could you have any faith that you could effectively manage a geo-engineering approach?

Finally, they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid.

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

If I were the authors, I’d suppress this myself, and then go for a long hike on the Appalachian Trail….


801 Responses to “Bubkes”

  1. 201
    Peter Houlihan says:

    #45

    When a paper does not met the scientific standards of an organization, in other words “it fails peer-review”, we say “it’s been rejected”.

    Saying it’s been “suppressed” is a deliberate framing that implies that there has been an unwarranted cover-up. There has been no cover-up, the draft is available online. What has happened it that the paper was garbage and it was treated as such.

  2. 202
    Hank Roberts says:

    I’d guess the agency tried to protect a longtime employee from the embarrasment that is now inevitable.

  3. 203
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Craig asks about polar bear reporting in the Telegraph: Polar bear expert barred by global warmists

    First, it’s the Telegraph.

    Second, “warmists”?

    Third, read to the last paragraph, where Anthony Watts gets a mention and the Copenhagen Synthesis Report gets a gratuitous swipe.

    For the real story on polar bear populations, see Federal studies show polar bear, walrus populations in trouble.

  4. 204
    Ike Solem says:

    Re#191, the Renewable Portfolio Standard is a good approach for individual states to pursue in conjunction with their public and private utilities, DOE Link

    A renewable portfolio standard is a state policy that requires electricity providers to obtain a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy resources by a certain date. Currently there are 24 states plus the District of Columbia that have RPS policies in place. Together these states account for more than half of the electricity sales in the United States.

    However, states do not have the ability to negotiate trade deals with foreign countries, I don’t believe – that’s the job of Congress and the Executive Branch. For example, if California were to vote to place a high feed-in tariff on all tar sand oil imports, would that be overthrown in federal court? Or would the WTO intervene and overturn the democratic decision on behalf of Conoco, Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron, Transcanada, Enbridge, etc?

    This is an obvious area where stated domestic policy is in direct conflict with stated foreign policy – for example, we just had the U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, Richard Morningstar, state that the U.S. supports all projects that increase world use of oil and gas.

    Likewise, the largest expenditures of the State Department and client agencies like the IMF and World Bank are on fossil fuel projects – the World Bank financed a $4 billion Exxon pipeline from Chad to Cameroon, for example, while giving a paltry $11 million to African lighting projects based on solar power – a financing ratio similar to that at DOE for the past thirty years, by the way. The IMF role in Peru’s recent conflict over oil expansion is identical (Hunt Oil being the partner, rather than Exxon). For more, see this:

    New statistics developed by the Bank Information Center show that the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), increased its lending for fossil fuel projects by a staggering 165% in FY2008[1]. Taken as a whole, the World Bank Group increased its fossil-fuel lending by 60% in the same period.

    Feed-in tariffs on fossil energy imports to the United States would surely end up reducing demand for fossil fuels as more and more renewable capacity became available – which is exactly what you would want to see happen if you are serious about slowing the rate of global warming.

    There is also the rather obvious fact that a nation that has 3% of the global oil supply but which consumes 25% of global oil production is eventually going to run into an economic wall – and coal-to-gasoline is not the answer to that, by any stretch.

    So, Mike, you are right about the value of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, and all forward-looking state governments would be wise to adopt that approach – but I think you need to look more carefully at the value of feed-in tariffs.

    In other good news, several large utilities have pulled out of FutureGen, probably because they realize it is technically implausible and they’ll never recover a dime invested in it:

    http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/1455136.html

    Really, there is a need to get an independent scientific assessment of “clean coal carbon capture” before doing anything else. The National Academy of Sciences did that for climate issues, and should be capable of doing the same for clean coal claims.

  5. 205
    Ron Crouch says:

    In response to #104 dhogaza.

    Yes, I got second opinions from two other sub-experts in the field, both of whom felt that my condition was correctable.

    It therefore follows that the Regional Chief of Ophthalmology (a sub-sub-expert himself) was incorrect in both his diagnosis and prognosis. This sort of thing could never happen within the scientific community could it? Res ipsa loquitur.

    It is not a case that “all of medicine is a fraud”, but rather that practise makes perfect (doctor’s open a “Practise”, but some practise more effectively than others).

    You may be comfortable having the postman fix your eyes, but I for one will continue to seek advise from multiple sources in order to form my own opinions.

    P.S.
    If telling it like it is constitutes being a “jerk” Gavin, then where may I sign up.

  6. 206
    dhogaza says:

    Yes, I got second opinions from two other sub-experts in the field, both of whom felt that my condition was correctable.

    It therefore follows that the Regional Chief of Ophthalmology (a sub-sub-expert himself) was incorrect in both his diagnosis and prognosis. This sort of thing could never happen within the scientific community could it? Res ipsa loquitur.

    You may be comfortable having the postman fix your eyes, but I for one will continue to seek advise from multiple sources in order to form my own opinions.

    Multiple *medical* sources.

    Yet, when it comes to climate science, you apparently feel comfortable seeking the opinions of folks like Anthony Watts, a TV weather forecaster with NO SCIENTIFIC TRAINING, etc. Or a retired mining industry expert like Steve McIntyre.

    The equivalent of postmen when it comes to climate science.

    So essentially you’re telling me what I suspected: when it comes to your health, you’re smart enough to ask for the advice of experts, not the postman or others with no training in medicine.

    But you don’t apply the same standard of common sense to climate science.

    Why not?

  7. 207
    dhogaza says:

    If telling it like it is constitutes being a “jerk” Gavin, then where may I sign up.

    Oh, BTW, thanks for telling us like it is. I’d label you as “foolishly inconsistent”, not a jerk, at this point but further posts on your part might move me closer to the “jerk” assessment …

  8. 208

    # 192 Tom Fuller

    Unfortunately you apparently did not try much at all.

    You see, to report the truth you have to understand the relevant contexts of the information you are looking at.

    You don’t seem interested at all in studying, you just want to report based on your view. That is not journalism, that is editorialization.

    I doubt you are interested but I put together some summary material on the science arguments concerning the troposphere and the silliness being expounded in the deinailosphere. It certainly can help you understand, but understanding is not what you seem to be interested in. based on your last comment.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/troposphere-not-warming

    Do you really want to commit to keeping your eyes closed to relevant science in favor of unsubstantiated opinion? Even your lukewarmness is, by your own descriptions/interviews/articles, reliant on opinions, not science.

    It is quite a statement you seem to be making to remain ignorant and just go with your bias.

    But if that is the religion you choose, you are certainly in the right country for it.

    Your general assessment, as stated, can be construed as your perspective indictment of scientists for doing science; while you seem to prefer reporting opinions.

    How can that be considered good journalism?

    If you really want to report science, then look at the science, not the opinions.

    Oh, and a certain amount of contempt seems reasonable for those that claim to be reporting science but rather merely report on opinions.

    You see it does not matter how long you have been covering science, what matters is how good you are at it.

    As far as mirrors go, rather than asking scientists to look in a mirror, try your own mirror and if possible remove Narcissus from the view.

    Your goal seems to be, like others, to attempt to appear relevant in the debate (while marketing to your base), that’s how you sell articles, as you indicated or maybe inferred (though unadmitted) you already know above (#125). If you change now and do it unconvincingly, you risk losing a portion of your audience.

    In summary, you seem to be choosing to not learn, as has been pointed out. Why you consider yourself qualified to report on the subject of climate and AGW is a tribute to your own apparent narcissism or market bias. Your apparent chosen will to ignore the contextually relevant science, while preferring opinion as the mainstay of your understanding is an indictment of your perspective.

    It’s a pretty weak branch you are hanging onto there Tom. Be careful when it breaks, you may break something when you fall…

    No, you will then, admit AGW is human caused and the science is now overwhelmingly in favor of the cause and effects. But you will wait until your market base is more convinced before you take such a stand… it’s all about the money for you, right Tom.

    As you said (post #125):

    “Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunites these days.”

  9. 209
    Steve Reynolds says:

    Fran Barlow: “… a culture war against anything that smacks of human (as opposed to ‘market’) control over policy.”

    Then in 163 you say “So it’s odd that your claim is that we who favour mitigation are opposing resort to market forces.”

    Then after I say we need to include external costs, you claim I advocate ignoring external costs. You then claim to know what I’m thinking about more topics than I’m willing to take time to refute (save one):

    “What is also clear from your text is a theme common in the contrarians’ cultural struggle to preserve existing arrangements of economic advantage…”

    That is not my desire at all. Just for fun, I’ll make a similar baseless accusation: You and most all other warmists just want to preserve existing arrangements of economic advantage of developed nations by keeping people of developing nations poor and without access to low cost energy.

  10. 210
    Former Skeptic says:

    #205 Ron Crouch:

    This sort of thing could never happen within the scientific community could it?

    It does – it’s called peer review. The crux in your case was that fellow MDs pointed out that the initial opinion may be faulty. Same thing happens everyday in the peer-reviewed climate literature. Tried reading up on that? Guess not.

    I for one will continue to seek advise from multiple sources in order to form my own opinions

    Oh, I’m sure you will. Just don’t fall into this trap in the following thought experiment:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/06/moncktons_vision_of_the_future.php#comment-1713819

    PS: back to your initial post:

    Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see

    That’s a fatuous platitude for the simple-minded. If someone tells you the sun rises from the west instead of the east, must you conclude that it rises from the north then based on what your left eye sees?

    You have numerous scientists who have done the legwork on climate research and armed with a crapload of data telling you that global warming is real and a threat to human society as things stand, and you have dubious commentators with no relevant research background, armed with nothing but opinion, a keyboard and an internet collection telling you otherwise. Seems like a no-brainer to me – and it is evident to anyone who is trained to detect BS.

    Congratulations that you still have your vision. If you, however, still think that the “truth lies somewhere between,”…well you may still have your eyesight but your mind has a giant blind spot.

  11. 211
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Tom’s updated his post with some quote-mining. I haz a sad.

  12. 212
    James says:

    L. David Cooke Says (28 June 2009 at 10:17):

    “As to electric vehicles being more efficient, please consider the entire energy to work equation.”

    But remember that what really matters here is not actually energy efficiency, but CO2 emissions. For example, imagine that you have two cars, one electric and one with an IC engine, that are exactly equal in energy efficiency over the full pathway from well/mine/reactor/etc to wheels. Then given the current generation mix, the electric car 1) emits about 30% less CO2 per mile; and 2) can take advantage of whatever system improvements come along, from solar panels on your roof to breakthroughs in fusion.

  13. 213
    caerbannog says:

    Ron Crouch said,


    ….I got second opinions from two other sub-experts in the field, both of whom felt that my condition was correctable.

    I see that you talked to two other *experts* in the field. I’ll bet they weren’t “alternative medicine” practitioners like homeopaths or “healing-touch” therapists. If you were to follow the logic of your typical global-warming septic, then you would consider homeopaths to be every bit as qualified as the genuine experts that you *did* consult.

    Now, getting on to climate-science, if you aren’t sure that a scientist at NCAR is correct, you can always solicit a second opinion from a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Or you can consult any number of refereed climate-science journals. They are chock-full of “second opinions”.

  14. 214
    SecularAnimist says:

    dhogaza quoted Tom Fuller’s “short bio at the Examiner”:

    About half of what he writes here will be a liberal skeptic’s view of environmental issues.

    In general, the moment someone mentions his ideological orientation in the same breath as his view of the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming, he demonstrates that he has been bamboozled, or is himself engaging in bamboozlement.

    There is no “conservative climate science.”

    There is no “liberal climate science.”

    There is just climate science. The scientific reality of global warming has nothing to do with a “conservative worldview” or a “liberal world view”. It has to do with empirically observed facts.

    Climate science has been systematically presented and defined as an “ideological” issue by the phony “conservative” media, which as I elaborated above, is nothing but a propaganda machine aimed at an audience that has been cultivated and conditioned for decades to embrace whatever is branded and marketed to them as “conservative” and reject whatever is branded “liberal”.

    The ploy of claiming to be a “liberal skeptic” is simply a too-clever way of turning around the industry-standard propaganda formulation (i.e. it is “conservative” to deny global warming and “liberal” to “believe in it”) so as to legitimize global warming denialism for a “liberal” audience. It says “Denialism is not just for conservatives! I’m a liberal and I’m a denialist! If you are a liberal then you should be a denialist too!”

    As a propaganda technique, I don’t think it works very well.

    First of all, people who know the facts of global warming realize that it is not an “ideological” issue, and don’t care whether phony “skeptics” call themselves “conservative” or “liberal”. What they care about is that phony “skeptics” are telling lies in order to obstruct and delay action to reduce GHG emissions.

    Second, there really aren’t any “liberal Ditto-Heads” to work this scam on. That’s because there has not been a decades-long corporate-funded effort to create a subculture of “liberals” who will obediently embrace, believe and obey whatever propaganda is branded “liberal” and spoon-fed to them by corporate media personalities, comparable to the subculture that is the eager audience for the so-called “conservative” media. So there aren’t a lot of actual “liberals” who will automatically embrace denialist rubbish just because the person who’s peddling it calls himself a “liberal”.

  15. 215
    Jeffrey Davis says:

    I’ve been covering scientific debate since Thor Heyerdahl’s controversy with the American Anthropological Association and never seen the level of spite and contempt found here.

    A bit of a difference in consequences, don’t you think? Recherché anthropology compared to a threat to civilization.

  16. 216
    dhogaza says:

    In general, the moment someone mentions his ideological orientation in the same breath as his view of the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming, he demonstrates that he has been bamboozled, or is himself engaging in bamboozlement.

    The latter, obviously, the point being that while anti-science is typically associated with conservatives, that a *smart* liberal will come to the same conclusion. “even a liberal like me can see that climate science is one big fraud”.

  17. 217
    Lars Träger says:

    The second paragraph of his geo-engineering article begins: “This Article finds that the emissions reduction approach would be ineffective at solving the dangerous climate change effects of global warming”.

    Wait a second, not only is global warming real, but its also dangerous?

  18. 218
    Nick Gotts says:

    “But the free market (at least if external costs are accounted for) is control by the aggregate of human decisions over policy.

    From another viewpoint, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the warmist position simply reflects the desire to fight what they see as a culture war against anything that smacks of ‘market’ i.e. aggregate human (as opposed to elitist) control over policy.” – Steve Reynolds

    Markets, of course, give rich people a much greater say than poor people. They are, therefore, necessarily elitist in operation. That’s why the elite – that is, the rich – propagandise so much in their favour.

  19. 219
    CM says:

    Tom (#192),

    Well, folks, I tried. The result is being compared to HIV denialists.

    No, Mr Fuller. There were two references to HIV denialists in this thread. Neither was directed to you personally: Dhogaza asked Richard H if he would keep an open mind about them too. As for me, I threw out an idle suggestion that AGW denialists may be more aptly compared with HIV denialists than with flat-earthers.

    Believe me, you were not on my mind when I wrote it. I don’t live in San Francisco, I don’t read your blog, and I haven’t the slightest interest in discussing you or your writings, much less in offending you in person. So please don’t take offense where none was offered.
    In any case I would have thought you viewed yourself as a skeptic and as a journalist reporting both sides’ views, rather than as the “conspiracy-theorizing petition-mongering” kind of denialist I evoked.

    I did go and read your “Next Generation Questions” post, and I don’t think it particularly rude of other commenters here to point out that much of it was clueless. Still, I thought some of it sounded like useful topics for a post I hope to see on this site rounding up a handful of the more plausible-sounding skeptics’ arguments before COP-15. I was about to make a suggestion here to that end when I saw your comment.

    At least you do not cite “HIV denialist” in your updated post as one the criticisms leveled at you here. That would have been untrue. You should also acknowledge, though, that whatever “contempt and spite” other commenters may have shown you, the RealClimate hosts treated you with perfect courtesy. As your post stands at the moment, you are pejoratively labeling serious scientists as “the warmist community” and giving the misleading impression that the responses you received were from them.

  20. 220

    Re #156 sidd, and Re Hank Roberts misc. comments,

    Thanks sidd, for pointing out that ice was not a part of the Hansen modeling. That was my original impression about the climate modeling in general. Thus, I return to my original point that melting ice would slow down the temperture changes otherwise predicted. However, it looks like this is not a major factor.

    Now the question remains (in my mind at least) whether the large increase in the amount of heat stored in the ocean is taken into account in the climate models. Since much of this is an indirect process through the thermohaline circulation that would seem to act like ice, it would also not be part of the process by which equilibrium was reached in the radiative energy balance calculation. Hence, it would tend to delay the temperature increase. Not bubkes!!??

  21. 221
    Ron Crouch says:

    In response to #206 dhogaza.

    Could you please show where at any point in time that I have alluded to seeking, let alone accepting the advise of Anthony Watts or Steve McIntyre. Bet you can’t. You either obviously have me confused with someone else, or you simply didn’t do your homework. Calling the kettle black without being able to back it up amounts to little more than gross ignorance.

    Insofar as sources are concerned, I would hope that people such as those who post in this forum as well as Richard Alley, Walt Meier, Mark Serreze, Julienne Stroeve, Jim Hansen, just to name a few, are not considered by you to be — postmen.

    I would expect that a full apology on your part would be in order.

  22. 222

    #216 dhogaza

    Mr. Fuller has certainly taken a stand on flimsy ground.

    Thomas Fuller / Tom Fuller

    http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner

    Thomas Fuller titled as the ‘SF Environmental Policy Examiner’ regarding Environmental Policy and his opinions on global warming and climate change.

    His posts in this thread thus far are:

    From Thomas Fuller/Tom Fuller
    #18
    #125
    #170
    #192

    Responses are throughout the thread and essentially implicate Mr. Fuller in editorialization of the matter of climate science and global warming. He has clearly implied that he is not interested in learning about the science, but prefers to favor opinion and his own bias.

    Mr. Thomas Fuller seems to have for gotten what journalism means:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/journalism

    Main Entry:
    jour·nal·ism Listen to the pronunciation of journalism
    Pronunciation:
    \ˈjər-nə-ˌli-zəm\
    Function:
    noun
    Date:
    1828

    1 a: the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b: the public press c: an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium

    2 a: writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b: writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c: writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

    He instead prefers the editorial statement (but he infers he is more journalistic in his approach).

    Mr. Thomas Fuller infers that he is lukewarm on the issue, but he clearly does not understand the complexity. When offered help in understanding it he prefers to not engage because he apparently thinks that criticism is a bad thing. This may be due to some insecurity in his knowledge of the subject or in himself as a person.

    Either way, he renders his reporting, on the matter of climate change and global warming, illegitimate; probably maintains his considered claim to legitimacy based on his uninformed perspective and his existing market base, with established bias.

  23. 223
    sidd says:

    Re: Mr. Cooke, Ocean Heat content

    1)As I pointed out earlier, I made an error in the calculation of latent heat of fusion of 100cu. km ice. This is on the order of 3e19J, as compared to OHC decadal increase on the order of 0.5e22J, both dwarfed by total absorbed insolation on the order of 1e27J.

    2)there is some data for deep ocean to 3000m in Levitus et all, Geophysics Research Letters, v32, L02604. I have reproduced the first figure at
    http://membrane.com/sidd/levitus-2005-1.png

    Another figure, with later data for the upper 0-700m
    from Levitus(2008) is at
    http://membrane.com/sidd/levitus-08-S14.png

    I hope this helps.

  24. 224
    dhogaza says:

    I would expect that a full apology on your part would be in order.

    It appears that since you replied to an inline response by Gavin, that I may have mistakenly taken you for the poster Gavin was replying to, if so, yes, I apologize.

  25. 225
    Ike Solem says:

    For an example of the kind of project not to pursue…

    coal eating microbes?

    Craig Venter, the controversial American scientist who helped decode the human genome, has announced the discovery of ancient bacteria that can turn coal into methane, suggesting they may help to solve the world’s energy crisis.

    The bugs, discovered a mile underground by one of Venter’s microbial prospecting teams, are said to have unique enzymes that can break down coal. Venter said he was already working with BP on how to exploit the find.

    Craig Venter has discovered methanogenesis from fossil fuel deposits… where do people come up with this stuff? Not even published – someone is looking for venture capital, I’d guess.

    In fact, microbial methanogenesis was discovered around 1936 – and is well-known in peat (the precursor to coal) – as well as in coal seams.

    This is just another example of the ongoing effort to boost coal-to-syngas and coal-to-gasoline strategies, which obviously do nothing to reduce CO2 emissions. In fact, they produce double or triple the CO2 emissions than petroleum or natural gas, on a usable energy basis. The DOE should just shut down its coal synfuels program entirely – the whole idea is ludicrous, expensive and incredibly polluting.

    L. David Cooke – let’s see what the energy pathway looks like for solar-powered electric vehicles…

    Sun -> solar panel -> electric current -> battery storage as chemical potential -> conversion to work via electric motor.

    So we have nuclear fusion, photoelectric conversion, electrochemical conversion, and mechanical work – all with zero emissions. I’m afraid I’m unable to follow your argument on why this isn’t a great idea – perhaps you could clarify?

  26. 226
    Ron Crouch says:

    Thank you for the vindication dhogaza. Full acceptance.

    Anyone else care to follow suit.

    BTW, should anyone consider James Lovelock’s vision to be scary, I can assure you that I’m not as optimistic as he.

  27. 227
    Mike says:

    Never fear, Tom Fuller has adapted to RC’s intransigence toward his earlier request:

    (quote) Gaining participation from the ‘warmist’ community may be more difficult than I anticipated. I posted a request for comment at RealClimate, a weblog maintained by members of the ‘warmist’ community: (endquote)

    Looks like he is willing to devote a few more hours of his time to the process.

    When he is done straightening out the “warmists” I hope he can head over to the Cosmology Department and help them out with the dark energy mystery. Tom, we need you!

  28. 228
    Ron Crouch says:

    Many thanks for the vindication Sir or Madam, whichever may be the case. Full acceptance is in order.

    Have I therefore earned the title of “jerk”.

    BTW, should anyone consider James Lovelock’s vision to be scary, well I’m not as optimistic as he.

  29. 229

    #165 Rod B

    #187 Ike Solem

    Rod B., Right you are about the coal cost.

    As to the conversion to kWhr, your might be interested in the way I did it at http://www.miastrada.com/analyses. From EIA data, using a fairly absolute correspondence between BTU and CO2, it was possible to calculate USA average electric power conversion efficiencies for the respective fossil fuels. It tried to be very careful about the references in that discussion.

    I am always glad to find one of the few who understand that you can not convert kWhrs of heat to kWhrs of electricity without considering efficiency of the heat engine involved. Our friend Ike Solem #187 seems to not remember this very well, even though he refers to one of his own posts which shows he knew this at one time.

    I am kidding Ike here. I think he knows better. He just makes an assertion that electric cars will be run from solar panels, and like most of us who do not know how to convert sun energy to electric energy, (and most of us don’t care,) he ignores the energy input from the sun. Ignoring that energy input, of course electric cars are efficient. The real question is whether there will be enough money to put up enough solar, etc., so that there will be reserve capacity to run cars. Truth: We are a long way from that.

    Ike #187 As to that free advertising “good deal for me” accusation: Guilty as charged.

    Well, maybe I should clarify: What is being advertised at http://www.miastrada.com is a set of concepts that would be profoundly important to the climate if they were widely implemented. Given actual human nature when it comes to real change, that looks to be something of a long, drawn out process. I will be surprised if I make a nickel on these ideas. Still, having put quite a lot of work into them, I would not feel guilty about licensing a few patents were that unlikely event to come about. Sorry if this offends. (Well, on consideration, I am not at all sorry.)

  30. 230

    #225 Ike Solem

    I know you asked this of Dave, but chiming in has always been my style. Sorry.

    You say:

    ” — let’s see what the energy pathway looks like for solar-powered electric vehicles…

    Sun -> solar panel -> electric current -> battery storage as chemical potential -> conversion to work via electric motor.

    So we have nuclear fusion, photoelectric conversion, electrochemical conversion, and mechanical work – all with zero emissions. I’m afraid I’m unable to follow your argument on why this isn’t a great idea – perhaps you could clarify?”

    I mark up your sequence:

    Sun + GUZZILIONS OF DOLLARS (pounds or euros etc.) -> solar panel -> electric current -> battery storage as chemical potential -> conversion to work via electric motor.

    When you, with the help of public money, put up solar panels the output will help to carry the overall load on the electric system, whether you use it or sell it to the utility. Now stop and think. What if you do not buy an electric car?

    Lets say you go ahead without thinking. There is a tiny benefit to the system from your solar panels. Great. They will be working their best before you buy the electric car. Do you think they can do any more cause you have a cool car? Clue: NO.

    In fact, the entire world collection of renewable power, even nuclear, is fully tapped out regardless of the electric car game. So the available reserves have to be cranked up. With cap and trade and enough arm twisting, at todays ($4) natural gas prices, some of that might be produced from the available natural gas facilities. The arms will have to be torn off to get the utilities to use natural gas when the natural gas price goes back to $6 to $12 which has been the actual range for some time. If there is any significant increase in usage, that natural gas price will probably soar to previously unimagined heights. What available reserves are left? Hint: COAL So your electric car will run on coal. Now tell us how efficient that electric motor is.

  31. 231
    Mal Adapted says:

    @Fran Barlow: I implore you to re-post comment #163 with some more editing, if not on this thread then in some other high-profile venue. By pointing out how AGW is a tragedy of the commons, you incisively exposed the economic rationale for AGW denial, and made it ineluctably clear that AGW mitigation is a public good requiring government intervention in the market. IMHO, that argument has not been made nearly as well anywhere, prior to your post. The only problem is that you used more words than necessary, thus sacrificing some readability. I understood your argument perfectly, but I’m in the choir. Your words need to reach a much wider audience!

  32. 232
    gavin says:

    Follow up to #199. On the off chance that anyone cares about the facts about administration interference with climate scientists including me at NASA, for instance, one might want to look up whose paper and press release was being discussed here. Other instances – an interview in Dec 2005 that I’d agreed to with CNN on the temperature records that was cancelled by Public Affairs with a untrue excuse that no-one was available, the imposition of ‘minders’ for all our phone interviews at GISS during 2005, a veto from the State dept. of an interview I was giving to a South American trade magazine(!) etc… While these events were minor compared to what happened directly to Hansen, it was hardly ‘hilarious’ and it had nothing to do with my or the other scientist’s political positions.

    The IG report is full of examples of issues that happened to other scientists apart from Hansen, and even then it is not a comprehensive list of everything that occurred. Fortunately things improved markedly subsequent to Griffin’s statement on scientists’ access to the media and have stayed reasonable since.

  33. 233
    oldswede says:

    My sense is that this ploy by the Deniers camp is to set up a distraction. They will not be engaging in argument over the science as much as they will be pumping up the ‘suppression’. “Report suppressed by EPA” is what will be flogged endlessly, even if it’ not true.
    Remember when during last year’s campaign, when Obama off-handedly made an innocent remark about putting lipstick on a pig? Remember how the Republican machine exploded in defense of Palin against such a vicious attack? Outraged Republicans were cooking with phony indignation around the clock and they got hours of news coverage out of it. Expect the same tactics with this “suppressed” report.
    The public is not prepared to judge the science, but they understand accusations of ‘cover-up’ and ‘hiding the evidence’.
    oldswede

  34. 234
    Fran Barlow says:

    #209 Steve Reynolds

    As unsurprising as it is, it’s nevertheless disappointing that you make no attempt to justify your claim that those who facour mitigation oppose the use of markets to accomplish this.

    The closest you come to addressing anything of substance is the implication that because I spoke of a “culture war against anything that smacks of human (as opposed to ‘market’) control over policy” by contrarians, that I must in some way oppose all resort to markets in advancing mitigation policies.

    There’s no conflict here. I was attacking the market fetishing fundamentalism that informs so much of the contrarian position rather than resort to markets in policy.

    You seem to be drawing your responses from some sort of bolt hole of tired memes common in the contrarian community. That hoary old one, which should probably be called “Old Shep” about ‘warmists’ wanting “to preserve existing arrangements of economic advantage of developed nations by keeping people of developing nations poor and without access to low cost energy” has been repeatedly euthanased by those of your side who insist that mitigation is a plot driven by guilt-ridden first-world liberals who want to transfer industry and thus wealth from the first world to the third and who accordingly want to give China, India and Brazil a free pass on emissions targets.

    Enough already. If you can’t put a case, then I see no reason to indulge your desire to engage in schoolyard-style banter.

    Fran

  35. 235
    Darren says:

    I can’t see why a spcialty in climatology is paramount. In political science, which I studied, some of the more profound contributions have come from economists. And in economics, some of the better criticisms come from political scientists. In any field, there is a tendency to fall into an intellectual rut as narrow, technical questions are pursued. Meanwhile, the basic questions–that is, the more important ones–often go unasked.

    [Response: Climate science is not narrow - it encompasses aspects of meteorology, oceanography, modelling, chemistry, computer science, mathematics etc. Thus you see (and expect) many contributions from people with diverse backgrounds. However, there are certain issues that are common - the nature of attribution in a complex system, what an apparent mismatch between models and data really implies for instance - that are fundamental to the questions being asked right now. There is no reason why an economist could not read up on this and improve the fit of their comments (whether on science or economics) to the scientific discussion. But this is not what is going on here. The equivalent would be if I sent in comments to a committee investigating the US housing bubble and assuming that the banking crisis was caused by the gnomes of Zurich. Where would you even start? - gavin]

  36. 236

    #232 gavin

    I was unaware of this report. Thanks.

    I opened a new folder:
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/investigation-reports/OI_STI_Summary.pdf/view

    If you know of other reports that would go well here, please let me know.

  37. 237

    #219 CM

    Do you really think Thomas Fullers “Next Generation Questions” have any contextual relevance in the discussion?

    Did you read the replies to him in this thread on that subject?

    He basically regurgitated tired old arguments that are so worn down and have been scientifically trounced so many times that it is hardly worth trudging down that path. Heck, I only posted as a courtesy in the event he was interested in trying to learn something, which he has clearly indicated he is not.

    Context is key.

  38. 238
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 212

    Hey James,

    Sorry for being late; however, it is not the issue of the efficiency of the engine/power plant as much as it is the issue of fossil carbon in the total carbon dioxide – energy creation cycle… (Keeping in mind the difference of fossil carbon being added to the atmosphere versus the carbon being cycled through the atmosphere.)

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  39. 239
    Ed Darrell says:

    Some of you might not have realised that the older model of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of employment opportunites these days.

    The “new model” of journalism isn’t producing much in the way of accurate reporting that wins Pulitzers or Peabodys. Old syle accuracy may be expensive, but is still essential in science reporting, or crime reporting, or policy reporting. A change in business model is a piss-poor excuse to give up on accuracy and attempted objectivity. Journalists have an obligation to follow a sort of journalistic Hippocratic Oath, doing no harm along the way.

    For example, reporting stuff from CEI without mentioning that there are few hard science studies to back up what they say, is probably irresponsible. It leaves the reader without essential knowledge. Tell the readers that CEI claims harms from smoking are overblown, that CEI is staffed with people who cut their teeth lobbying Congress claiming science showed smoking was harmless, readers may get an idea of the species of science CEI promulgates (but still doesn’t do on its own).

    But in no case should a reporter who wishes to portray with accuracy the debates about global warming, present a minority view unbacked by science and promoted by businesses with a small, old dog in a very tough dog fight, as equivalent to hard science from unbiased scientists with no economic interest in anything but getting the facts and predictions right.

    Is truth out of style? Since when is that a good reason to avoid it, or abandon it?

  40. 240
    Ron Crouch says:

    In response to #210 Former Skeptic.

    As for your first comment. The subtle facetious and sarcastic nature of my comment obviously eluded you.

    Your second comment does not even warrant a response so I’ll limit it. Lord Monckton indeed. Once again res ipsa loquitur.

    Now as for your third comment. Your feeble attempt to produce a coherent analogy to fit the argument posed. I’ll address it in the following manner.

    During my lifespan I can clearly remember when it was largely and widely accepted within the scientific community that humans had only been around in their present form for ~20,000 years. I’ll not state that I was a lone voice in the wilderness crying foul, that would be naive and unsupported. But I did cry foul relying upon a broader analysis that included minor genetic variations and vast amount of languages and dialects of those languages. I postulated that humans in their present form had been around for at least 300,000 years, and most likely longer. The most recent archaeological evidence pinpoints our presence to ~276,000 years BP.

    So yes, there is a conundrum of evidence that more than implicates humans as a major contributor to Global Climate Change. That is not a point of contention. However based upon the fact that not all factors of a Whole Earth can or have been incorporated into models and analysis’, it would be my contention that the future outcomes of our meddling are still poorly understood and that current estimates of those outcomes considered are by in large conservative. It’s not been that long since the talk of the town was an ice free Arctic Ocean in the summer by 2100. At the same time I was arguing that the date would be closer to 2020. Once again I relied upon a broader analysis of Whole Earth and it’s various systems. Mother Nature it would seem is finally poised to bare me out, and perhaps unpleasantly surprise us all (think of 2013).

    I’ll stand by my guns: “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see”. BTW if you think that Global Climate Change is the only factor that will lead us from this “Golden Age”, then you really need to broaden your reading base. So just who has a simple mind, and whose mind’s eye has a blind spot? If you believe it is me, then you probably also believe that Columbus was the first European to discover America.

  41. 241
    Ellis says:

    Actually, it seems to me Mr. Carlin and the RC scientists have something in common. Before, I get to that let me just say that if you read Mr. Carlins’ paper he clearly states that his views may be incorrect, he also states that the EPA should do their own study on the science and not rely on IPCC or CCSP findings because any errors will be at the feet of the EPA and not the other organizations, basically CYA, as I am sure most will agree is a wise policy.

    I am surprised RC has taken the stance that it has considering that you specifically called into question the finding of the IPCC 4 in regards to SLR.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/the-ipcc-sea-level-numbers/
    In fact, Eric statement to comment #4

    One of the reasons this stuff wasn’t included in detail in the IPCC report is that it is all pretty new. Anythinig (sic) included in the report has to have stood the test of time, at least a bit. The rule was anything cited had to be in press by May 2006. Many of the important papers postdate that. All this goes to show that IPCC is for the most part, conservative. That’s how science works, contrary to what the “skeptics” claim.–eric

    sounds exactly like what Mr. Carlin was trying to say.

    Sure enough you can beat down the mans’ scientific arguments, but his reason for writing the report is legit, the science of AGW did not end in May 2006 and the EPA should do its’ job and make sure its’ findings are as up to date as possible, especially considering how conservative the IPCC estimates are.

  42. 242
    James says:

    SecularAnimist Says (28 June 2009 at 14:13):

    “There is just climate science. The scientific reality of global warming has nothing to do with a “conservative worldview” or a “liberal world view”. It has to do with empirically observed facts.”

    This may be a first: you’ve actually written something that I entirely agree with :-)

    Such a pity you had to go and spoil things with the rest of your comment.

  43. 243
    Hank Roberts says:

    Fuller, about some guys posting in the comments at the RC blog:

    > These are the people who claim to be pro-science and
    > that skeptics are equivalent to Holocaust deniers.

    Mr. Fuller, are you familiar with all Internet traditions?
    Including Godwin’s Law?

  44. 244
    Darren says:

    Response to gavin.

    The way you apply diverse fields, however, can remain narrow, regardless of how many you apply. I believe it was Karl Popper (my hero!) who said that the main question is science is how you conceive of the problem set–in other words, diverse tools aren’t the central issue. Clear-headed appraisal of the problem is.

    I’ve also observed repeatedly, in both political science and economics, where models (which can be useful for teaching and keeping concepts straight) morph into the modeler’s actual theory, or even entire world view. The result is narrow science, where the real questions are settled outside the modeling, so that–presto!–the model “yields” the result the modeler-scientist set out to prove. I see the same thing in my daily job, which involves financial modeling. The people in charge of the modeling set out to prove the value of some asset, and be darned if they don’t succeed every time. Amazing! Throw in the egos and careers at stake, and well… you get the picture. (Having egos and careers at stake are a good thing, I think. Just don’t expect financial experts, nor scientific ones, to be impartial. Believing that they are is one cause of the financial meltdown.)

    At core, this is what makes me skeptical of the theory of global warming. And this is what persuades me that an outsider is better situated to make a critical assessment of it. After all, the theory’s prediction is simple: CO2 emissions up, temperature up. Any intelligent outsider, decently versed in scientific method, can assess it. Just look at the predictions, then look at the facts. That’s one beauty of science: It relies on predictions that non-experts can assess.

    And on that–the predictions–the theory of global warming seems to falter: Carbon dioxide emissions are growing faster than ever, especially from the Chinese over the past decade. And yet, over the same decade, global atmospheric temperatures haven’t risen, and may even be falling. The “delayed effect” retort may have merit (as it sometimes does in economics). But I’ve seen enough people speak like Linus in the pumpkin patch to make me skepitcal (though not totally dismissive) of that retort.

    I’ve also seen enough of economics, politics and, to a lesser extent, computer programming to know that single-faceted explanations are, in complex systems, almost always wrong, mostly because they have a tendency to overstate the effect of man’s will. (Man is always overstating his own importance.) So I find it far-fetched that man-made carbon emissions would be a determining factor in climate, especially when you consider the size of our little civilazation against the size of the sun–which would seem, at first look, to be the main consideration. Anything man can do is infinitesimally minute compared to that thing.

    Rather than bore you with more causes of my skepticism, I’ll leave it at that.

  45. 245
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 223

    Hey Sidd,

    I saw your correction after I had posted my suggestion that there may be other processes at work that we need to gather further data on. (Example this 1986/7 research paper: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/mcph1166/mcph1166.shtml )

    The main point I was trying to suggest is for a limited measure of N/S 8 Deg., covered by the NOAA Triton/TAO buoy data sets, the visual indication since 1998 does not appear to support large scale warming in either heat content or isotherms.

    After reviewing the Levitus et al 2008 papers abstract, (as I do not have access to the paper it’s self), I assumed that the data you were referring to was based on some earlier data sets which seemed to demonstrate a ever increasing distributed localized temperature swing, when subsequent data, as indicated in the Levitus et al 2008 suggests a systemic imbalance of oceanic heat content increase in the range of a 0.31 Deg. C.

    When I reviewed the ocean temperature data sets back in 2003 through 2005 that appeared to have been data taken in the N. Atlantic above the 30th parallel, with an indication of cooling in the 2300 to 1700 meter range. When Dr. Layman released his 2006 paper initially it appeared that this was confirmed by the Argo buoy data sets; however, in 2007 it was discovered that upwards of 7% and later determined to be nearly 17% of the Atlantic Argo deployment had pressure sensor issues.

    It is entirely likely that the issues identified in 2007 also invalidated the 2003 to 2005 data collect when initially identified. However, when I went back I found that the data I originally found at the NOAA site was primarily collected via research voyages and ships at sea volunteering in a data collection experiment. The end result to me, based on the earlier manually collected data and the current Triton/TOA data seems to suggest that yes there have been recent instances of warming and cooling; however, this does not mean that the present cooling is reaching cool levels in the pre-1997 range.

    I suspect part of the difference between the data sets with the measured data versus the Levitus 2008 0.31 Deg. work may be explained by reviewing the time frame and sources, which would require a much greater motivation then I have regarding niggling out the reasons. For me, when looking at the isotherms it appears that the heat content of the N. Pacific does not support a long term rise in temperature as defined in the linked referenced graphs. I do not diminish the recent work, only that similar to Dr. Stevenson, ( http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/ocean.html ) I wonder how the 2008 conclusion stacks up with the continuing measured data research.

    It is entirely possible that the difference in insight could be the difference in generations or the weight of confidence applied to the analysis due to differences in backgrounds. I suspect many things play a part in climate analysis. The analysis of modern models appear to be fairly good even if most earlier versions were based primarily on large scale processes. Most modern versions continue with the large scale processes, with under lying process identification and documentation work continually improving them.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  46. 246

    #212 James,

    Are we thinking that all the sources in a “present generation mix” cough up an additional amount of energy when you plug in an electric car? And all make sure that their response is an equal percentage?

    Maybe that is not what happens. Maybe the added load is actually handled by bringing up the cheapest source available. Actually, I think there is a good chance the utilities do not even know its you and your electric car that is loading them up with demand.

    For people with solar cells, do you suppose there is a special little storage compartment with each persons name on it?

    I am kidding. Cheers for the Honda Insight.

    But it seems easy to get tricked by the “generation mix” nonsense. Even Argonne National Laboratories has trouble understanding this.

  47. 247
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 225

    Hey Ike,

    Sorry, I was simply reviewing the body of the text in the current climate change bill that recently passed the House and did not see a quick increase in Nuclear resources being added by 2020. Matter of fact, what I saw clearly suggested an increase in coal usage.

    In my original query, I had allowed an opportunity for a possible solar solution, the original question was related to the total systemic conversion efficiencies of the various systems we will employ in the near future.

    If you are suggesting renewable resources, over fossil fuels, for powering electric vehicles, then I am all for it. However, at this time and until 2050 I do not know that renewables will be providing the lions share of electrical power. Hopefully, the Senate will disregard the idea of a Cap and Trade and either through the current tax / tariff / subsidizing systems or a scaled fossil carbon usage tax, directly fund renewable implementation or replacement.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  48. 248

    #244 Darren,

    It is not a delayed response that the ocean heat content has gone up significantly. And as long as that can go on, the surface temperatures could well not show the effects which the more zealous climate science folks have emphasized. That might be a delayed outcome. Unfortunately, that has been the effect that we have been led to expect.

    In order to popularize the cause, there is a possible and unforturnate outcome that the zealots are damaging their own efforts.

    Rising sea level in small but steady amounts should be adequate reason for concern. That indicates a continuing deficit. Though that is a single faceted explanation, isn’t that an indication of a problem? Even in economics that should get attention, sooner or too late.

  49. 249

    #244 Darren

    Facts out of context are less relevant or irrelevant.

    Climate is not as linear as you seem to assume. There are many influences in the natural cycle and there are influences caused by man.

    You are missing important contexts in your understanding, likely the main driver of your doubt regarding human impact on climate.

    I’ve lined up a few ducks if you want to take some shots at them

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths

    John Coleman from the weather channel used a similar argument about how man can not influence climate. maybe check out this:

    http://www.uscentrist.org/about/issues/environment/john_coleman/the-amazing-story-behind-the-global-warming-scam

  50. 250
    Phil Scadden says:

    #244
    “Rather than bore you with more causes of my skepticism, I’ll leave it at that.”

    Why? All your points of skepticism are easily answered. Would you like to learn or just hold onto your prejudices? If you want to learn then I suggest a little background reading from the RC resources. You would learn that noone in climate science expects single-faceted explanations to complex phenomena either. You might learn why the sun isnt considered as important as rather major changes in CO2 levels when considering climate CHANGE and you might even find out what the models actually DO predict instead of what you think they predict. Show willing and people will help.


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